Cartoon of the Day: Nurse Maid

Nurse Maid
1932
Directed by Ub Iwerks
Available on: Cartoons that Time Forgot: The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 2

The look and feel of Walt Disney’s early cartoons is largely due to one person, Ub Iwerks. He was one of the true geniuses of early animation, but when he left Disney and ventured out on his own, his creations never achieved the notoriety of his previous employers. Many people have probably never heard of Flip the Frog, but his films are still important in the history of animation.

Flip begins this short as a paper boy, but when all of his inventory is ruined he’s left strapped for cash. So he gladly accepts a paying gig watching an infant while it’s mother goes into the store. The baby, however, quickly swallows the coin Flip has been given which leads to various misadventures and flip tries to get the baby to burp the thing up. It’s actually a very similar premise to the 1989 Roger Rabbit short “Tummy Trouble.”

The final chase is no-holds-barred, involving everything from runaway baby carriages, a lion, and a turkish bath. The short is fun, but it’s also easy to see why Flip never really took off as a character…he doesn’t quite have the playfulness of a Disney character, or the mischievousness of the Looney Tunes. It’s an enjoyable short, even if it doesn’t quite show the scope of Iwerk’s massive talent.

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